Pakistani government officials falsely deny selling arms to Ukraine
Despite repeated denials by Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson and interim Prime Minister, multiple sources of evidence prove that Pakistan supplied arms to Ukraine
Claim: Pakistan has not supplied any arms to Ukraine, even through third parties. Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister also further said that any Pakistani arms in Ukraine must have reached there through the black market.
Fact: Pakistan has supplied arms to Ukraine through private military contractors under a US military aid program. The fact stands confirmed through procurement data from the US Department of Defence, and reports circulating within mainstream and social media.
Additionally, the FO Spokesperson, Mumtaz Baloch admitted that any arms sales would have necessarily included information on the end user. Based on Pakistan’s end-use disclosure requirements for arms sales, it is unlikely that Pakistani authorities are entirely unaware of the sales of arms to Ukraine.
In the complex, ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, the United States and its allies have supported Ukraine by providing military and economic assistance. However, Pakistan officially maintains “a policy of strict neutrality in the dispute.”
On 7 November 2023, Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Baloch responded to a question from the media regarding Pakistan’s alleged supply of arms to Ukraine, saying, “As a matter of policy, Pakistan does not supply arms to a region in conflict. It has not supplied nor does it intend to supply any arms to Ukraine,” contradicting earlier statements by Ukrainian officials and media reports which indicate otherwise. This is not the first time Baloch has made such a claim.
On 18 September 2023, she issued the following statement, repeating the official stance of the Pakistani government, “Pakistan maintains a policy of strict neutrality in the dispute between Ukraine and Russia and in that context, does not provide any arms and ammunition to them,” it said.
In an interview published in the Washington Post on 27 September 2023, interim Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar also denied that Pakistan sold arms intended for use in Ukraine, even through third parties, stating, “We have not gone for any sale which was directly intended for the Ukraine, not any sort of transactions,”. He attributed Pakistani munitions found on the battlefield in Ukraine to the black market.
On 20 July 2023, a similar stance was adopted by former foreign minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart.
Fact or Fiction?
The claim that Pakistan does not supply arms to Ukraine is false. Multiple credible sources of evidence show that Pakistan has supplied arms to Ukraine.
Publicly accessible procurement data and press releases show that Pakistan sold weapons intended for use in Ukraine under a US military aid program. These documents were first published by Soch Videos. Documents released by The United States Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) show that private military contractors, Global Military Products and Northrop Grumman collectively sold $364 million worth of 155-millimetre artillery shells, manufactured in Pakistan, to the US government. The FPDS is a database of all the procurement data relevant to the products coming into the country.
A press release was then shared on the official website of the Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment which lists contracts awarded under the United States’ Ukraine Special Assistance Initiative. This press release also lists both of the same contracts for 155-millimetre artillery shells that were worth $364 million confirming that weapons manufactured in Pakistan were sold for use in Ukraine.
In one of the denials of the presence of Pakistani arms in Ukraine, the FO Spokesperson admitted that any arms sales would have necessarily included information on the end user. An end-user certificate displays the declared usage of the material being requested for trade. This acknowledgement implies that Pakistani officials were likely aware that the arms sold to entities like Global Military Products under the US’s Ukraine Initiative were intended for use in Ukraine.
Furthermore, mainstream and social media reports tracking weapons in Ukraine have documented the presence of arms in the region manufactured by Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), the largest firearms manufacturer in the country, since mid-2022. Numerous credible images of Pakistani-manufactured weapons in Ukraine have surfaced on platforms such as Telegram. For instance, on 1 January 2023, 122 millimetre artillery ammunition of Pakistani origin was identified.
Additionally, Ukrainian soldiers informed the BBC on 27 April 2023 that rockets from Pakistan, amongst other countries, were being sourced for Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials have also openly acknowledged military support from Pakistan on various occasions.
On 6 November 2023, Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov expressed gratitude for Pakistan’s contribution to Ukraine’s “capabilities” after a telephonic conversation with Pakistan’s Minister for Defence and Defence Production, Lieutenant General (retired) Anwar Ali Hyder. Given this context, “capabilities” can be understood to mean Ukraine’s defence capabilities.
The claim that Pakistan does not supply arms to Ukraine was circulated widely by Pakistani officials and media outlets, as well as some social media users who support the government’s official position. It was published here by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Conclusion: Pakistan has supplied arms to Ukraine through private military contractors under a US military aid program. The fact was corroborated by Ukrainian officials, the US Department of Defence’s procurement data, and reports from mainstream and social media platforms. Denials issued by Pakistani officials cannot be deemed credible as they are contradicted by the facts..
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